As with any rule of thumb, rules were meant to be broken. Ducks actually produce the *best* down. The Eider duck produces a fine 700FP-750FP down that many consider the best you can buy. It actually holds heat better than goose down, regardless of the fill power. Fill power only measures loft, NOT the actual insulating value of the down. Eider down is “clingy”, not slippery like goose down, meaning it will form a more even layer in a bag preventing cold spots/under filled areas. It is also more water proof than goose down, naturally. And each barbule on a plume is more springy making it compress/recover better. Why don’t I use it?? COST. The 16-18oz fill alone for a sleeping bag runs between $1000-6000. Beware of mixes and “Eider” brand names, they usually are not 100% premium eiderdown.
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I don’t own a zero rated sleeping bag anymore. Instead, I have a 20 degree bag and a 20 degree quilt. Typically I use the quilt for most camping and then when it gets too cool (typically in the under 40 range) due to me moving and causing drafts, I’ll switch to the bag. Then, when it’s even colder (I’ve been down to near zero) I simply use the quilt over the sleeping bag and I’ve been plenty warm – even more so than my old 0 degree. The bulk isn’t much more than what a real 0 degree bag would be. Things like my phone can be placed in the zippered pocket on the outside of my sleeping bag and kept warm enough by the quilt.
Quilts utilize either down or synthetic insulation. Down insulation is more thermally efficient (with a superior warmth-to-weight ratio) and compresses better than synthetic insulation. However, down insulation also has downsides; it is more expensive and unable to provide good warmth when exposed to moisture (sweat, rain, high humidity etc.). Nevertheless, as quilts are primarily intended for lightweight hiking, we only included quilts with down insulation in this review.
Once your child is old enough to have bedding in his crib, look for a lightweight quilt that can work in the crib and toddler bed by itself or as a layering piece. Choose a super-soft version made of 100% cotton and a lower-loft fill to keep your child warm without getting too hot. A lightweight version can also fit into your home washing machine to clean it when your child has an accident or an illness. Choose one in bright white that can be bleached if need be (because you know with kids, some kind of stain is inevitable!). The bonus with all-white: It will continue to match your child’s room decor and other bedding as their tastes change from one character or hobby to another. If you don’t like all-white, this one also comes in gray, blue and pink, or just with blue or pink borders.
If you live in a place with a real change in seasons, look for a midweight quilt that will be comfortable when it’s warm out, but that’s easy to layer in the colder months. Choose a quilt in a solid, neutral color to give yourself the most flexibility as you transition through the seasons: In summer, pair it with lightweight cotton or linen sheets, then in winter trade in flannel sheets and top it with an extra throw blanket or duvet if you need more warmth.